With or without the UFC forming a women’s flyweight division, VanZant told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that her next fight was going to be at 125 pounds — no matter what. VanZant said she will no longer cut to 115 and compete in the strawweight division.
“I kind of put my foot down on this one,” VanZant said. “It was time for me to move up.”
VanZant, 23, said she passed out several times in her last few weight cuts. She said she was cutting all the way from 137 pounds to 115 and it’s not something she can do any longer from a health perspective.
“It's a big cut for me,” VanZant said. “I’m a lot heavier than people realize. I was honestly killing myself for this sport. In my last I want to say two fights or three fights, I’ve passed out in my bathroom. This last one, I passed out and had the doctors almost not cleared me for the fight.”
VanZant (7-3) last fought in December, a first-round submission loss to Michelle Waterson. She said her parents were in town for that fight in Sacramento, where VanZant was training at Team Alpha Male. The weight cut seemed to deeply upset them.
“My parents have never seen me cut weight, but they watched this one and they told me if I ever did that again they were gonna disown me,” VanZant said. … “They thought, I'm killing myself for this and it's not worth it. It's not worth hurting myself physically for a sport.”
“12 Gauge” will make the move up to 125 to face Jessica Eye at UFC 216 on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas. The UFC is now committed to a women's flyweight division. This season of The Ultimate Fighter will crown the first female champion at 125 pounds.
“The 125 division is finally getting built, so it just made sense for me to try it out,” VanZant said. “I’m moving up. I’m a big advocate for body positivity and I was putting myself through an eating disorder to make weight. And it became not fun for me anymore. I hate cutting. I hated the process. Obviously, passing out on your bathroom floor is not fun, because you’re dying in a bathtub.”
Not only will she no longer be putting herself through hell for this upcoming fight against Eye, VanZant promises the in-cage product will be better than it has ever been. She said Waterson was the better fighter back last December, but the brutal weight cuts were contributing to subpar performances. VanZant has lost two of three fights.
“I think that the world will see that I’m so much better at 125,” VanZant said. “I’m gonna be healthier, I'm gonna be stronger, i’m gonna be faster. I can't wait to show that off.”
Though she has had opportunities in Hollywood, on shows like “Dancing With The Stars,” VanZant said she has never considered leaving MMA. Even if the weight cuts were oppressive.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “People are crazy if they think that I’m quitting this game. I'm not going anywhere. I plan on fighting for a long time. I'm a fighter first. Of course I'm gonna pursue other opportunities that are coming my way, because they're amazing and I would never pass up something that I’m still passionate about it. But I’m a fighter, first and foremost.”